Monday, November 14, 2011

Our kid is with relatives for the week...What's the gameplan?

My folks are on vacation this week, and living a couple hours away they don't get to see as much of our son as they would like.  I agreed (actually, I jumped) on their offer to keep him for the week.  It will allow me to catch up on some work projects and housework, plus have some quality time with Hubby now that we're both busy with work and school.  I want to definitely have some fun, maybe a cheap date night (complete with a bottle of wine--woohoo!), and also get some projects done that are challenging with a 3 year old around.  I also don't want to go too spend crazy this week trying to complete those projects, since I hadn't really factored anything into our budget at the beginning of the month and we just replaced our car windshield last week.

Sidenote: Some PF bloggers or die hard PF readers could be judgmental about this. They would scoff that since we hadn't allocated this money or saved in advance for these specific projects, we shouldn't be spending it.  But, our belief is that you can't work so hard and go through life never spending anything until you have a full emergency fund, plenty in retirement and investments, a nearly paid off mortgage, and absolutely no consumer or student debt.  You have to be realistic and understand that everyone's priorities and values are different.  We don't go clothes shopping, we eat cheaply, we don't have cable, we rarely travel, and our childcare costs are minimal (thanks to a family member who we appreciate greatly.) We have money set aside for Christmas and all of our "End of the Year" expenses.  I am not going to beat myself up over spending a little to take care of my home and my family. Moving on...

There are lots of projects/repairs that got put on hold when Hubby lost his job in February of 2010.  While he is working now, they've remained on hold while our savings somewhat recovered.  Now that we have 3 months of expenses saved (my personal goal is 6-8 months), I feel we can take a little money to take care of some things.  After all, we won't be moving anytime soon, and even if that were the case, we would have to get our house in shape beforehand anyway.  Plus, it's considered frugal to take care of your things.

First, we want to paint the master bedroom.  It does need it.  We haven't painted it in 6 years, right after we moved in.  There are marks and scuffs all over the walls from us, our son, and the dog, and it looks horrible and reminds us how we couldn't afford to do any maintenance for so long.  Plus, we're ready for a change in the color.  Of course, I am realistic and know how changing the color will lead to the immediate desire for a new comforter (ours is constantly losing feathers out of the holes from our dog), new curtains, and possibly new wall decor/pictures.  Oh man.  I will just have to wait until the January 'white sales' to try and score some deals, and start with Goodwill/Craigslist/ebay for the other stuff.

Second, we need to get our son a twin mattress and box spring.  Our son is freakishly tall for his age and has outgrown the toddler bed with the crib-sized mattress.  It will be nice to get it all taken care of while he is gone.  Oh crap. That will also mean new bedding for him. Nothing is ever simple, is it?

Third, there are some miscellaneous paint touch ups and holes to patch.  This shouldn't cost us anything, unless the paint or spackle is missing or too old to use and we have to buy new.

Fourth, purchase and install new towel bar and toilet paper holder.  Our towel bar and the matching toilet paper holder, which fell off the wall shortly after installation and have spent more time OFF the wall than ON, have been living on top of our dryer until we got around to doing something about them.  The fastening brackets are poorly designed and we need to pick out something that hopefully will stay on the wall and not come crashing down on our toes or our son's head.  I'm sure the originals weren't cheap, but we're not getting any value out of them laying on top of the dryer doing nothing.  They will be going in my Craigslist pile.

Fifth, make a new batch of laundry detergent.  Which reminds me, I need to pick up some washing soda this week because I ran out on the last batch.  That will only be $2.50 or so and 30 minutes of my time.

Sixth, clean out the garage so my husband can park in there for the winter, hopefully extending the life of his car and keeping it warmer and free of ice and snow on those winter mornings.  Right now we only have one car in our two car garage.  The other space is filled with bikes and a bike trailer, a wagon, a grill, a patio table (another Craigslist pile item), and other odds and ends that need to be discarded or recycled, such as batteries, used motor oil, broken small appliances.   So that means...

Seventh, we need to haul a bunch of stuff to the special recycling facility.  This is long overdue.  In addition to the garage stuff, we have a big box in our basement of CFL bulbs, various old cables, and non-functional electronics and computer peripherals.  It may cost a little for them to take it off our hands but we'll be gaining so much space that it's worth it.

I think that's a pretty ambitious list.  Especially when I want to do extra work for my business on top of that.  I'll give you an update to see what we accomplished and how much we spent.

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